Jim Ware, Softball Coach Dies Suddenly

Softball coach dies suddenly over weekend Selfless, enthusiastic and tireless is how Beth Ware will remember her father. She’s not alone. Jim Ware, Broadneck’s softball coach for the last 11 seasons, died suddenly at 6 a.m. Saturday – likely because of a blood clot in his lungs. He was 62. “He should be remembered for all the contributions he made to the community,” Beth Ware said. “He coached at Broadneck for 11 years, but he’s been coaching in this community since about 1986. … Basically any kid who grew up in Cape St. Claire knew my dad or knew of my dad.” Jim Ware served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired after more than 20 years in the military. He began coaching his son, Patrick, 28, and Beth, 27, when they were youngsters and rarely stopped. He coached in Cape St. Claire for a decade and spent several years with Chesapeake Freedom softball program. Ware was 120-99 with the Bruins. He finished his career with consecutive county championships – the only two in the program’s history – and a pair of 19-3 seasons. “The first year that I played … we won the counties and regional back-to-back,” said Kourtney Salvarola, Broadneck’s ace pitcher. “Just to see the look on his face, to see how happy he was that he was coaching us. That’s my greatest memory of him.” Two weeks ago, a month after Broadneck’s season ended, Ware hosted a softball camp at the high school, and Salvarola was one of the players helping out. She remembers commenting on how healthy Ware was. Reese Kiple, Salvarola’s stepfather and summer team coach received a phone call Saturday before the Maryland Wagners took the field in Pennsylvania, notifying him of Ware’s death. He decided not to tell Salvarola and Bruins teammate Lauren Battista until after the game. “I didn’t really think,” Salvarola said. “I just started crying.” Hours later, signs and flowers hung from the backstop at Broadneck’s softball field. A large bouquet of flowers is resting on home plate, and a 15-foot sign hangs on the fence by the first-base dugout, which echoes sentiments from current and former players, coaches and parents. Among the many messages was one from Erica Stephenson. “Coach Ware: Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us. You gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. I won’t let you down.” That’s exactly how Beth Ware wants her father remembered. He was recently awarded for logging more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service hours at Broadneck High School – not including his coaching duties. “He was involved in every way that he could be with Broadneck and with sports, in general, and kids,” she said. Ware is survived by his ex-wife, Mary, Patrick, Beth and his two grandchildren, 3-year-old Brooke and August – just 5 weeks old. After retiring from the military, Ware sat on the Accreditation Board of Engineering Technology, where he and became the director of engineering technology. He taught math at South River High School in 2006-07 before heading back to school for his teaching certificate. He planned to teach a new technology course at Broadneck in the fall. “He was a good person, and he demonstrated how much he cared for our school and our kids,” Broadneck athletic director Ken Kazmarek said. “Hopefully, we can keep his name in mind when we’re playing.” Kazmarek said Ware was “always on that field.” He donated many hours and more money than he made from coaching, Beth said, to the softball program, which had struggled prior to his arrival in 1998. Ware led the Bruins to a 12-9 record in 2002, and they’ve endured just two losing seasons since. Broadneck beat eventual Class 4A state champion Chesapeake in each of the two previous county championship games before losing in the East Region finals. “I know that he was so proud of how far his girls have come, and it made him immensely happy,” Beth said. “It leaves us left wondering what could have been in the future, but at least he got to go out on a good note.” Much of Broadneck’s team is returning next season, including Salvarola – the Capital-Gazette Newspapers’ Player of the Year – and hard-hitting shortstop Ashley Thomas. Salvarola said the Bruins are dedicating the 2009 season to Ware. “To finally get some of the more talented kids to come through the program, it’s a shame that he’s not going to see it through,” Kiple said. “I’d imagine he’s going to be watching every single game played on that field.” Ware’s son and daughter will meet with Kazmarek today to discuss plans for a public memorial service at Broadneck later this week. Kiple was prepared to take a position with the softball program at Catonsville Community College, but said he would consider taking over at Broadneck if asked. “We’re going to find someone to coach softball, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to replace Jim Ware,” Kazmarek said. “He was a special individual.”

Source:  Capital, The (Annapolis, MD) – Monday, July 7, 2008, p.D1

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